Thursday, November 10, 2022 11:00am, EST

A Full Moon Festival: Revering Our Gurus and Teachers

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In Hinduism, the word Guru means spiritual teacher, and Purnima means full moon day. Historically, Guru Purnima’s roots are linked with the Vedic era, but people who associate with the guru-shishya (shishya meaning student) tradition often celebrate this festival with grace and love.

Guru Purnima is celebrated to show gratitude, respect, and pay back the Guru. Students or disciples celebrate this festival by showcasing their learnings with utmost humility. It is a student’s way of acknowledging the role a Guru played in their life. Students who learn an art form like Indian classical music or Indian classical dance often perform compositions created by their Gurus. Students who learn spirituality remember ancient Gurus based on their hierarchal lineage and celebrate their teachings. It is one of the finest and most vibrant festivals celebrated to glorify ancient teachings.  

It is an honor to dedicate this year’s Guru Purnima to Rutgers School of Social Work’s faculty. One can thrive in the social work profession if one can work from one’s soul. Who can do a better job at soul awakening than the professors themselves who teach social work? A full moon day in Hinduism is associated with the rebirth of the soul. Rebirth requires unlearning the old ways and relearning a new way. It takes patience, persistence on the Guru’s part, faith, discipline, and obedience on the student’s part to imbibe education and be ready to apply skills in the real world. Just how Lord Krishna was able to awaken the soul of his student Arjuna, Rama Krishna Paramhans trained Swami Vivekananda; in so many ways I am thankful to the entire Rutgers School of Social Work faculty for their dedication and hard work in training students to serve individuals, groups, communities, society, and the nation at large.

This story was created in partnership with Rutgers School of Social Work's Inclusion, Intersectionality, Diversity, Equity, and Advancement (IIDEA) Committee in support of our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.